Ohio lawmaker proposes death penalty for killing first responders

An Ohio state lawmaker from suburban Cleveland proposed a bill making killing first responders or military members a death penalty eligible crime.

Republican Rep. Dave Greenspan proposed the Public Safety and Military Protection Act this month to increase penalties for violent offenders who target a law enforcement officer, first responder, or serviceman.

In a statement, Greenspan said he wanted to create a strong deterrent following “disturbing attacks on those who dedicated their lives” to protect and serve Ohio communities.

“This Bill sends a strong message to those who seek to harm the brave men and women who see us at our worst or greatest times of need,” he said.

In December, firefighters were ambushed in Youngstown while responding to a call. The shooter was across the street and opened fire on the first responders, injuring one of them in the leg.

In Ohio, killing a police officer is already a crime eligible for capital punishment, but Greenspan’s measure, House Bill 38, adds the provision that intentional acts of murder against those groups shall carry the charge of aggravated murder and also increases penalties for assault against those groups.

In addition to those actively serving, the proposed law covers those training to enter those careers as well as retirees.

The bill is Greenspan’s first bill in the Ohio House of Representatives. Fourteen other lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors.

Daniel Terrill contributed to the reporting of this piece